Look around you, shoppers: The weather's changing. Leaves are falling. And so are the prices on bikes, as we've listed a handful of great deals recently. That's fabulous news, since the biking season seems to get a little longer every year, what with all those sophisticated clothes and gadgets that keep cyclists in action all year round.
So as we get set to say goodbye to September, let's say hello to five bike bargains that should put your deal-hunting skills into high gear. And remember, no bike is good without a rack — as in "let's rack up lots of savings."
- Diamondback Podium 3 Bike
Price: $798 with $24 s&h
Lowest By: $224
Is It Worth It?: While $700-plus might seem like a lot of cash for a bike, rest assured this is no $50 garage sale special. For starters, the Podium, offered by JensonUSA, comes decked with Shimano 505 clipless pedals and a full line of Shimano's 105 components, which offer the best bang for any biker's buck. This 10-speed is indeed built for speed, so those who like to lollygag on the bike path with no particular place to go need not buy. As for speed demons and performance freaks, take a good hard look at this bike, now selling for $224 below the next-best price we could find.
- Huffy Men's Savannah Road Bike
Price: $89 with $4.97 s&h
Lowest By: Tied with our mention from a week ago as the lowest total price we could find.
Is It Worth It?: This bike isn't about to beat a Diamondback Podium in a speed trial, but it's hard to go wrong when a new model runs under $100 and features 18 speeds with Shimano Revo twist shifters. At this price point, features such as the rear rack make a big difference, and this Huffy should work well for those who don't put a lot of wear and tear on their bike. For those seeking a great value on an entry-level bike for light commuting and the like, keep in mind that some stores might charge you nearly as much just for a fancy bike lock. What's more, 53 of 84 reviewers on Walmart's website give this bike 4 or 5 stars.
- Raleigh Talus Sport 29er Bike (search for "808735")
Price: $590 with in-store pickup
Lowest By: $109
Is It Worth It?: REI offers this fine bike, with a butted aluminum frame that makes it extra light for those who want more glide in their ride. It also features a Shimano Alivio 27-speed drivetrain, which could get a little overwhelming if you like simple shifting, but could prove a boon if you ride in terrain with widely varied grades. Like all REI bikes, it comes with a free warranty tune-up, which REI says you'll need between the first 100 to 200 miles, or after the first two months of light riding.
- Diamondback Men's Drifter Cruiser Bike
Price: $168 with in-store pickup
Lowest By: $132
Is It Worth It?: REI does it again, but to get the most of this bargain bike, go to the store and skip the $60 oversized shipping charge. File this Cruiser under "flashy," as sometimes it's almost as crucial to make a fashion statement with your wheels as to sport a smooth ride. And let's face it, the retro lines and big, fat whitewall tires can't be beat. As long as you're willing to ride a single-speed bike that's no-frills in its mechanics, this could be the ideal set of wheels for resort riding, or low-key city cruising to and from coffee shops.
iGrip Bike Mount for iPhone, GPS, more
Price: $5 with $2 s&h
Lowest By: $7
Is It Worth It?: Any device that clips an iPhone to a bike is begging for certain cyclists to do dumb things, like talk on the phone and ride, listen to their iPods at full blast (good luck hearing car horns) or better yet: watch YouTube videos. The product is a smart buy, but let's face it: The road is full of careless drivers, and that includes our nation's urban bike paths. So if you get the iGrip, get a grip and use it as intended: for GPS navigation, or basic smartphone use that doesn't take your eyes or mind off the road.
Front page photo credit: elmimmo via Flickr